Widely successful Armenian-American rock band System Of A Down is known for being outspoken concerning many political topics. So, it’s easy to understand why certain assumptions are made regarding the controversial title of their 2002 album – Steal This Album. Were they making a statement against the industry? Nope – prior to its release, unfinished versions of many SOAD songs made their way onto the internet. The band was unhappy with the quality of the leak, apologized to fans, and subsequently released higher-quality versions of the songs as the CD called Steal This Album – the title only a reference to the situations that spawned its release.
So how does System Of A Down actually feel about filesharing? Serj Tankian is the vocalist, songwriter, and keyboardist of SOAD. He also founded his own label, Serjical Strike Records, which operates under Universal Music Group. A September 2010 quote by Tankian:
The piracy of music has caused a contraction in the industry as we know it, which in turn, has caused labels to focus even less on artist development and focus on the few easy hits (mega pop format). The reach of music and the popular rise of music listening has risen dramatically further through piracy and that’s great of course. So it’s really not an easy thing to take sides on. I think people should support artists financially so that artists continue what they do best and not be forced to look for other avenues of expression or income. You see many more artists touring than making records because that’s more profitable. That’s not good for the recording of records.
In addition, in 2007 Tankian mentioned one secret to overcoming filesharing- offering fans another reason to support the band.
…in today’s music industry, with file sharing and downloading, we have to offer something a lot more than just 12 songs on a record. We need to offer multiple ways of connecting with our fans, with the people that listen to our music.